Uncompromising technology despite minimal dimensions and particularly low weight, that’s what iFi Audio promises for the new Bluetooth DAC and headphone amplifier iFi Audio GO blu HD Bluetooth DAC.
The new iFi Audio GO blu HD Bluetooth DAC is intended to appeal to all those users who do not want to do without wired headphones when on the move, but are looking for a solution that offers the flexibility of Bluetooth.
According to iFi Audio, these users will find in the new iFi Audio GO blu HD Bluetooth DAC a Bluetooth DAC with integrated headphone amplifier that guarantees the best possible sound quality with uncompromising technology. The “little one” thus offers a performance that could not be found in this size until now.
iFi Audio GO blu HD Bluetooth DAC – Bluetooth 5.1 from Qualcomm
At the heart of the new iFi Audio GO blu HD Bluetooth DAC is a quad-core processor from Qualcomm, the Qualcomm QCC5100 IC, which not only offers Bluetooth 5.1, but also brings a range of functions with it and thus allows the particularly small form factor of the iFi Audio GO blu HD Bluetooth DAC.
When talking about sound quality, it is essential that Bluetooth 5.1 with the codecs SDC, AAC, but also aptX, aptX HD, aptX LL as well as LDAC and HWA/ LHDC are supported.
32 Bit D/A Converter
Another essential component is, of course, the D/A converter, and for this iFi Audio relies on a 32-bit DAC from Cirrus Logic for the iFi Audio GO blu HD Bluetooth DAC, specifically a Cirrus Logic 43131. Of course, this cannot be exploited to the full by Bluetooth, because here only up to 24 bits and 96 kHz are achieved via LDAC and LHDC.
In addition, the iFi Audio GO blu HD Bluetooth DAC can also be connected directly via USB-C to a PC or Mac, but also to a smartphone or tablet, whereby signals with up to 24 bit and 96 kHz are processed.
Balanced output stage with iFi Audio Direct Drive
iFi Audio rightly cites the output stage, which is once again symmetrical, as another important feature for best sound quality. This is all the more remarkable because it is actually a tiny device.
The manufacturer refers to this as a double-mono design, but it also does not rely on some of the outstanding features that distinguish iFi Audio solutions, such as the iFi Audio Direct Drive circuit, which eliminates sound-diminishing coupling capacitors from the signal path.
XBass and XSpace
In addition, there are other functions that allow individual sound adjustment. For example, the new iFi Audio GO blu HD Bluetooth DAC features iFi Audio XBass, a special form of bass amplification that emphasises the low frequencies, but does not affect the mid frequencies. The iFi XSpace function also serves to optimise the sound, as it allows the proverbial “listening in the head” effect with headphones to be minimised, thus expanding the sound stage. This should provide a more spacious sound experience, much closer to that experienced with conventional speaker systems.
Essentially, these two functions do not rely on a DSP, but are discrete even in this miniature form of the new iFi Audio GO blu HD Bluetooth DAC and can of course be completely disabled if desired.
Unbalanced and balanced output
Surprisingly, the small iFi Audio GO blu HD Bluetooth DAC not only has an unbalanced connection for headphones with iFi Audio S-Balanced circuitry, implemented as a 3.5 mm stereo mini-jack, but also a balanced output. This is presented as a 4.4 mm PENTACONN connection.
It is also astonishing that the iFi Audio GO blu HD Bluetooth DAC provides an output voltage of up to 5.6 V and can thus easily control even quite demanding headphones. By the way, to ensure that the signal strength matches the sensitivity of the headphones, an automatic amplification adjusts the output by either plus or minus 6 dB.
The iFi Audio GO blu HD Bluetooth DAC is equipped with a 450 mAh lithium-polymer battery that is said to provide up to ten hours of playtime. Charging is, how could it be otherwise, via USB-C.
The new iFi Audio GO blu HD Bluetooth DAC actually measures no more than 54 mm in length, 43 mm in width, and 13 mm in depth. This means that the housing, which is made of metal, weighs a mere 27 g.
The volume control of the new iFi Audio GO blu HD Bluetooth DAC is done by a rotary encoder that is supposed to be manufactured with special precision. The so-called ChronoDial of the iFi GO blu HD Bluetooth DAC is a masterpiece of precision mechanics and allows the user, just like a chronograph, precise analogue volume control. But it can also be used to control playback, play, pause, skip forward and backward tracks, and even activate the voice assistant on a Bluetooth-connected smart device.
Hands-free and voice control included
Of course, the new iFi Audio GO blu HD Bluetooth DAC is also equipped with an integrated microphone, after all, the full range of Bluetooth functions should also be available with wired headphones.
iFi Audio relies on a so-called chip-based CMOS-MEMS microphone and also allows the direct use of voice control via Apple Siri and Google Assistant.
The new iFi Audio GO blu HD Bluetooth DAC will be available immediately from specialist retailers. The recommended retail price is listed at € 199. It comes with a matching case and USB-C cable.
Getting to the point
The new iFi Audio GO blu HD Bluetooth DAC is a particularly small Bluetooth receiver that features an integrated D/A converter and headphone amplifier, making this tool from iFi Audio ideal for upgrading high-quality wired headphones with Bluetooth functionality.
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